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Archive | May, 2015

Catch of the Week – Mason Oppenneer

OUT-Catch-of-the-week-OppenneerMason Oppenneer, the son of Rikki and Jeff Oppenneer, of Pierson, recently caught this big 4-pound bass, while fishing with his Dad. Great job!

Congratulations, Mason, you made the Post Catch of the Week!

 

It’s back—get out those cameras!

It’s that time of year again when anglers big and small like to tell their fish tales! Send us a photo and story of your first, best, funniest, biggest, or even your smallest catch. Include your name, age, address, and phone number, along with the type and size of fish, and where caught.  We can’t wait to hear from you! Photos published as space allows. Photos/stories may be sent by email to news@cedarspringspost.com with Catch of the Week in the subject line, or mail to: Catch of the Week, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

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Monitor bait to spot juvenile Asian carp 

OUT-Monitor-bait-Asian-Carp

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers to monitor their live bait purchases and look for juvenile Asian carp during the fishing season.

The DNR is taking many steps to prevent adult Asian carp (bighead and silver) from entering the Great Lakes, but many people don’t realize that juvenile Asian carp pose a threat to the state’s waters, too.

Juvenile Asian carp can be confused with common baitfish—such as gizzard shad, emerald shiner, spottail shiner or golden shiner. Because bait often is transported across state lines, including from areas with breeding populations of Asian carp, it would be possible for juvenile Asian carp to make their way into the bait supply without anyone realizing it.

A video is available online to assist anglers and the public in identifying juvenile Asian carp. It showcases five characteristics that viewers can use to distinguish between juvenile Asian carp (bighead and silver) and common baitfish, including:

• Body color.

• Scale pattern, shape and size.

• Eye size and location on the head.

• Mouth shape and location.

• Presence or absence of keels on the bottom side of the fish.

The video can be viewed on the DNR’s Asian carp website at michigan.gov/asiancarp.

The video also describes what an angler should do if he or she thinks there is a juvenile Asian carp—or any odd-looking fish—in the bait bucket. Anglers are encouraged to keep the questionable fish alive or freeze the fish and contact the DNR to correctly identify the fish in question. The DNR does not want questionable fish to be used as bait. Once anglers are done fishing, remaining baitfish should be disposed of in the trash.

The video is one of several items the DNR has developed to increase public awareness about Asian carp. For more information, visit michigan.gov/asiancarp.

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Dangers of unattended children in cars

HEA-child-in-car

As warmer weather arrives, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan State Police (MSP) and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson are reminding parents and caregivers to be diligent and never leave children alone in vehicles. Last year, at least 30 children died from heatstroke in vehicles in states all across the country. One of these deaths happened in Michigan.

“Every year there are heartbreaking child fatalities related to heatstroke in vehicles, even in moderate temperatures,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS. “Heat Stroke Prevention Awareness Day is an opportunity to remind everyone to help protect kids by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

Children can get overheated in cars even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, as the temperatures inside a car can rise as quickly as 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Temperatures inside a car can easily be double the temperature outside. Additionally, a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke.

“It takes just a short time for a car to become dangerously hot for a child,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. “Never leave your child alone in a car, and alert authorities if you see children by themselves in a hot car.”

Too many children have lost their lives to this preventable tragedy. Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

• A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.

• C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

• T: Take action. If you see or hear a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

“Heatstroke is a preventable tragedy,” said MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “To save lives we must raise awareness of the need to ACT and make sure that parents and caregivers understand that leaving a child alone in a vehicle for any period of time is extremely dangerous.”

Safe Kids Coalitions across the state are working hard in their communities to increase awareness.  For more information and safety tips about preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

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Fight the bite

HEA-mosquitos-ticks

As people spend more time outdoors and the weather continues to warm, it is important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) would like to urge all residents, especially those recreating outdoors and children at camps, to protect themselves from mosquito and tick-borne diseases.

Seasonal activity varies from year to year, but mosquitoes in Michigan can carry illnesses such as West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and ticks can carry illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms, severe infections requiring hospitalization, and even death.

“One bite from an infected mosquito can lead to a severe and possibly life-altering illness,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS.  “Preventing bites from mosquitoes is the key to protection.”

Nationally in 2014, there were 2,122 WNV cases and 85 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WNV cases have been seen every summer in Michigan since 2002.  Those with the highest risk of illness caused by WNV are adults 50 and older.

In addition to presenting a greater risk for older people, EEE is more likely to cause illness in children 15 years of age or younger. People in outdoor occupations like construction and landscaping are at increased risk of getting bitten by an infected mosquito, but the mosquito that carries WNV also likes to get indoors.

Protection against mosquito-borne disease is as easy as remembering to take these key steps:

• Avoid mosquito bites: Use insect repellent when outdoors especially from dusk to dawn. Look for EPA-labeled products containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Reapply as needed according to label directions. Use nets or fans around outdoor eating areas to keep mosquitoes away.

• Mosquito-proof homes: Fix or install window and door screens and cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.

• Help your community: Report dead birds to Michigan’s Emerging Diseases website (www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases) to help track WNV and support community-based mosquito control programs.

• Vaccinate horses against WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

Michigan is also home to a number of tick species that will bite people. Ticks are typically found in wooded or brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter. The ticks mostly commonly encountered by people in Michigan include the American dog tick, which can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and the blacklegged tick, which can spread a number of human illnesses, including Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is considered to be an emerging disease due to the expansion of tick populations in Michigan’s western Upper and Lower Peninsulas and is the most common tick-borne disease reported in the state, with 128 human cases reported in 2014, the second highest number ever seen in Michigan. The period from June to September is of concern because of the poppy-seed sized nymphal-stage tick, which is responsible for much of the Lyme disease in the U.S. While rare, human cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever have also been documented in Michigan.

Many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms. See your healthcare provider if you develop signs of illness such as a fever, body aches and/or rash in the days after receiving a tick bite or recreating in tick habitat. Early recognition and treatment can decrease the chance of serious complications. You can prevent tick bites by:

• Avoiding tick-infested areas. This is especially important in May, June, and July. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges.

• Using insect repellent. Spray repellent containing a 20 percent concentration of DEET or Picaridin on clothes and on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any repellents.

• Bathing or showering. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, wash and dry clothing at a high temperature to kill any ticks that may remain on clothing.

• Performing daily tick checks. Always check for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Because ticks must usually be attached for at least a day before they can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, early removal can reduce the risk of infection. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

For more information about the diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks, visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases, or the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov. 

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Congress says, “War Powers? What War Powers?” 

V-Lee-Hamilton

By Lee H. Hamilton

A few weeks ago, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia made a small splash in the press when he took Congress to task for failing to authorize our nation’s ongoing war against Islamic militants. “The silence of Congress in the midst of this war is cowardly and shameful,” he said. “[T]his Congress, the very body that is so quick to argue against President Obama’s use of executive power… allows an executive war to go on undeclared, unapproved, undefined and unchecked.”

It has been three months since President Obama sent his proposal for an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” focused on ISIS to Capitol Hill. It has gone nowhere.

This is mind-boggling. On the most important question government faces—military intervention overseas—Congress seems unable to stir itself to hammer out an agreement with the President. You can blame the President for this or you can blame Congress—each side comes in for its fair share—but inaction only expands the power of the President, leaving him to make hugely consequential decisions by himself. It’s a shocking dereliction of duty on Capitol Hill.

This is going to be a long and difficult conflict. It raises tough questions about the scope of the President’s powers, the duration of those powers, the definition and identity of the enemy, the extent of the field of battle, and America’s fundamental role in the world. The decision to apply American lives and resources to such a war is momentous, and, as a country, we need to know how far we’re willing to commit ourselves.

If we are going to send U.S. forces into dangerous places, they need to go in with the public backing that comes from a formal authorization hammered out in Congress. Both the President and Congress are dragging their feet on this, but that only helps the President, not the country. It leaves him—and most likely his successor—with dangerously broad authority to use military force without restriction, in perpetuity. This is not how a democracy like ours should operate.

The American people are beginning to understand all this. They overwhelmingly believe that Congress needs to weigh in on the government’s war-making powers. Yet, that seems to mean nothing to Washington. “Cowardly and shameful,” Sen. Kaine said. That pretty much sums it up.

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University; Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

 

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Bug Off

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Tips to help eliminate dangerous pests

(Family Features) A yard that is lush, green and free of weeds shows evidence of healthy lawn maintenance. However, many homeowners overlook an important aspect of lawn care that can affect not only the health of the yard, but also your family. Nuisance pests such as fleas, ticks, ants, spiders and more can transmit diseases and cause allergic reactions for both people and pets.

Your lawn is the perfect environment in which threatening weeds, diseases and pests can lurk, often with harmful consequences. In some cases, the primary damage may come in the form of these insects eating away at grass or the leaves of shrubs. Alternatively, grub worms or insect larvae may destroy grasses and plants at their roots.

DIG-Bug-off2-webOther lawn pests pose their greatest threat to you and your family. For example, Lyme disease, which is transmitted by the deer tick, is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system. Currently, there are no protective vaccines for humans for tick-borne diseases.

Considering how quickly pest populations can multiply, being proactive in preventing and treating their presence is crucial. A regularly scheduled treatment plan is one of the best strategies to reduce your exposure to dangerous pests, and help defend your home and family from unwanted lawn visitors.

Look for a system designed to eliminate active pests and control successive generations. For example, the TruShield Lawn Pest Control Plan available through TruGreen includes a first application to significantly reduce the population of active lawn pests, and additional applications every four to six weeks for lasting control and ongoing protection.

“Using a professional to help control lawn pests should be part of a well-rounded, comprehensive defense program,” said Bob Mangan, TruGreen director of technical services. “Because ticks and other nuisance pests can congregate in backyards, it is especially important to help protect yourself and your family so that you can fully enjoy your outdoor time.”

In addition to a regular treatment program, these tips from the Centers for Disease Control can help reduce ticks in your yard:

• Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns

• Place a barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas

• Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked

• Stack wood neatly and in a dry area away from the house or lawn

• Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from wooded areas and in a sunny location if possible

• Remove any trash or debris from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide

For more information on protecting your lawn from pests, visit www.trugreen.com.

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5 steps to create an outdoor sanctuary at home 

DIG-create-an-outdoor-sanctuary1-web

DIG-create-an-outdoor-sanctuary2-web(BPT) – The wildly popular outdoor-living trend has inspired homeowners across the country to add value and comfort to their properties by revitalizing their backyards. In an increasingly hectic world, having a peaceful place at home where you can enjoy nature and fresh air has become a top priority.

But when you look at your outdoor space, is it more boring than beautiful? By adding a few key elements you can transform any yard into a stunning retreat that is ideal for spending more time outdoors and disconnecting from stress.

Step 1: Add natural elements

The visual components that make up your outdoor space dramatically affect the emotion it conveys. To create a relaxing atmosphere, add low-maintenance touches that reflect Mother Nature. Try blending softer elements, such as containers of flowers, with hardscape elements, like landscape rocks. Because real rock can be expensive and difficult to move, opt for Fiberlite Landscape Rocks that are light, affordable and hand-painted for a realistic appearance.

Step 2: Increase comfort

To make your outdoor spaces comfortable, think about how you’ll be using it most often. For entertaining, you’ll want to add a table, chairs and umbrella for dining al fresco. If you’ll be relaxing solo most often, set up a plush chair and comfortable accents like blankets and pillows. If you have a garden or large yard, create meditative spaces with strategically placed chairs or benches for quiet contemplation.

Step 3: Eliminate the negative

Every yard has features that are less desirable. Things like utility boxes, air-conditioning units, HVAC compressors and hoses are necessary, but these items are eyesores that detract from the ambience of an outdoor space. Fortunately, it’s easy to conceal unsightly yard features with vinyl outdoor fencing from Outdoor Essentials. This durable decorative fencing hides the negative while adding a decorative accent that is visually appealing.

Step 4: Create solace with sound

An outdoor sanctuary should go beyond what you see to tantalize all the senses. Sound is a key consideration that can help the space feel like a true escape. That’s why adding a water feature is an excellent investment. A burbling water fountain is a beautiful decorative piece that also provides a soothing sound. Wind chimes are another option for adding serene sound to outdoor areas.

Step 5: Create attractive focal points 

Gardening is a popular pastime that provides respite from life’s demands. Whether you plan to grow vivid blooming flowers or scrumptious vegetable plants, you can transform your garden into a gorgeous focal point in your yard with a raised bed. Outdoor Essentials’ vinyl raised garden beds frame and raise your garden masterpieces for easier access while simultaneously providing a stunning focus within the yard.

One final thought: While these steps will transform your backyard into a peaceful sanctuary, make sure to incorporate personal touches to make the space feel like your own. Choose decor, color palettes and patterns that speak to you. That way when you step outside your door, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a personalized oasis.

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Tire Safety Week – May 24th to 30th

CAR-Tires

 

It’s National Tire Safety Week.  When you check your tire pressures, don’t forget the spare!

Be TireWise, because the only thing between you and the road are your tires.  Yearly estimates back up that statement. On average:

• Drivers in the United States put more than 2,969 billion miles on their tires,

• There are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes, and

• Almost 200 people will die in those crashes.

Many of these crashes can be prevented through proper tire maintenance—including tire inflation and rotation—and understanding tire labels, tire aging, and recalls and complaints.

Because safety is our top priority, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation want to make sure you have the tools to avoid being in one of those 11,000 crashes. TireWise (www.safercar.gov/tires/index.html) is your resource to help you make smart decisions to keep you and your family safe, whether you’re in the market to buy new tires or want to extend the life and safety of the ones on your car or truck.

TireWise is also a resource for tire manufacturers, sellers and other partners to provide essential information to consumers for choosing and caring for their tires.

The next time you’re in the garage, remember these handy tips to get the most out of your tires.

#BeTireSmart

Stay Safe. Drive Smart.

The mission is to move Toward Zero Deaths on Michigan Roadways. The statewide interim goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all roadways from 889 and 5,706 respectively in 2011 to 750 and 4,800 in 2016.

The number of reported fatalities statewide is 281 as of May 26, an increase of 19 from last week. In addition, 1,450 serious injuries have occurred on roadways statewide, an increase of 95.

Visit www.michigan.gov/zerodeaths for more info.

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Celebrate National Trails Day 

 

May 30, Long Lake Park

Welcome the North Country Trail to Cedar Springs by celebrating the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day at Long Lake Park (in the pavilion), 13747 Krauskopf NE, (south off 17 Mile), from noon to 4 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team and North Country Trail, will be fun for the whole family. They will offer hot dogs, ice cream, a petting zoon, games, music, popcorn, face painting, a ham radio demonstration, a guided hike on the North Country Trail at 3 p.m., a chance to identify medicinal plants, and a history of logging in northern Kent County. Residents will also get to offer ideas on what cool sites hikers in the area should see.

You won’t want to miss it!

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Black snake

 

It was the first camping experience for Jed.

As soon as he had pitched his tent, he went for a hike in the woods. In about fifteen minutes, he rushed back into camp, bleeding and disheveled.

“What happened?” asked a fellow camper.

“I was chased by a black snake!” cried the frightened Jed.

The camper laughed and retorted, “A black snake isn’t deadly.”

Jed groaned. “He is if he can make you jump off a fifty-foot cliff!”

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